My Sweep Lord: By George, Pau is Leenon towards a Ring-o, as Gasol and Kobe Come Together and Beat the Help!-less Jazz 111-96 Yesterday, to Best them 4-0 and Get Back to the Western Finals — but Here Come The Suns (and LeBron is thinking: “I’ll Follow The Suns”)
Hello, Goodbye, Utah. Your Magical Mystery Tour is over, and your Long and Winding Road has come to a dead end. I Imagine that you want to sing “I Buried Pau!” but instead, next Monday is just another Day in the Life for you, while Pau and the Men in Yellow-gold will be trying to Submarine the Phoenix Suns in the Conference Finals. And there’s nothing you can do but Let It Be, and nowhere for you to go. Nowhere, Man.
And the Wall was Pau. Utah really suffered a Hard Day’s Night, as Laker Star(r) Pau Gasol was working like a dog. He led all scorers with 33, and he collected 14 Rebounds, 2 Assists, and 2 Blocks, as the Lakers dominated for most of the last 40 minutes of the game. Utah came out as if they weren’t already a defeated team, and they led for the first 9 minutes of the game, but Utah decided not to double-team Gasol, so Pau started to assert himself underneath. He scored 17 before Intermission, as the Lakers built a 22-point lead in the 2nd Quarter, and took a 17-point advantage into the locker room.
Jerry Sloan’s Jazz, to their credit, did NOT give up. It would have been very easy to throw in the towel, considering that no one has ever survived a 0-3 Series deficit, and considering that the dead Salt Lake crowd was so deflated. But the Jazz, led by Deron Williams and Paul Millsap who each scored 21, went on a tear in the 3rd Quarter, and cut the margin all the way down to 5. But then Kobe scored 4 in a row, and it spurred a 16-4 Laker Run that put the Series away. Kobe finished with 32, and now gets a week to rest all his ailments before the Suns hit Staples Center.
As you will read and hear all week, the Lakers took 3 out of 4 from the Suns this year, losing by 15 in Phoenix in December. And you will also hear that Phoenix has improved quite a bit from earlier in the year, while the Lakers haven’t. But what you won’t hear is that the game the Lakers lost to the Suns was L.A.’s third game in four days, starting with the Christmas loss to LeBron, and more importantly, Ron Artest MISSED that game in Phoenix with a concussion. So the Lakers are actually an undefeated 3-0 against Phoenix this year when at 100%.
Kobe says that Phoenix is the exact opposite type of team from Utah. And most people think that the Suns will try to run the old Lakers off the court, ala OKC. Experts think that a slow pace gives the Lakers and their Twin Towers the edge, but if they allow Phoenix to force a quick pace, the Suns would have a distinct advantage. Sounds like it’s a good thing that the Lakers have home court advantage — and a healthy Artest — waiting for the Suns. And they may have a little extra Jordan Farmar waiting for them too — Farmar matches up better with Steve Nash than he did with Deron Williams (and possibly better than Shannon Brown does), and also, Jordan doesn’t mind a faster pace, so maybe this will be the Series were Farmar breaks out.
I’d settle for Lakers in 7. Koo koo ca choo.